We recently had the pleasure of showcasing some of our favourite recent Canadian shorts at the MONSTRA festival of animation in Lisbon, Portugal. For those of you who weren’t able to make it out, we still want you to have a chance to see some of the amazing work that’s coming from all corners of the country. Not all the films in the package are available online, so you’ll have to miss out on some gems like cameraless animation wizard Richard Reeves’ Twilight and films from Quickdraw community members Mihaela Slabe, and with just a trailer for Space Between Stars, but there’s still more than enough here to get you excited about independent Canadian animation. Thanks again to Monstra for their hospitality!

Canadian Animation at the Fringes

Tempting as it is to believe there’s some innate underlying character to Canadian independent animation, some recognizable national voice forged by our frigid winters and vast, open landscapes, the truth is more complicated. No single voice could carry through the nation’s near-million square kilometres.

After all, what do the films produced by Spotted Fawn Productions, created by indigenous artists grappling with issues of identity and cultural adaptation, have to do with the slick sci-fi adventure of Guru Studios’ Space Between Stars? Nearly nothing. How do you reconcile the post-apocalyptic abstractions of Leslie Supnet’s Second Sun with the playful provocation of Lori Malépart-Traversy’s Le Clitoris? You don’t. You don’t need to. There is ample room for both.

This whirlwind tour across the contemporary Canadian animation landscape represents just a fraction of the films created each year outside the reach of Canada’s iconic National Film Board, by animators from vastly different backgrounds. They’re made in bedroom studios, art schools, or with the support of a network of artist-run organizations like the Winnipeg Film Group, Toronto Animated Images Society or Calgary’s Quickdraw Animation Society. They don’t speak in a single voice, but they do share one thing: a commitment to individuality, a dedication to honing their singular artistic visions.

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